When I wuz a youngster I sailed wid de rest,
On a Liverpool packet bound out to the West,
We anchored one day in de harbour of Cork,
Then we put out to sea for the port of New York.
Singin' ro-o-o-oll, ro-o-o-oll, roll, bullies, roll!
Them Liverpool judies have got us in tow!
For forty-two days we wuz hungry an' sore,
Oh, the winds wuz agin us, the gales they did roar;
Off battery Point we did anchor at last,
Wid our jibboom hove in an' the canvas all fast.
De boardin'-house masters wuz off in a trice,
A-shoutin' an' promisin' all that wuz nice;
An' one fast ol' crimp he got cotton'd to me,
Sez he, "Yer a fool lad, ter follow the sea."
Sez he, "There's a job is a waitin' fer you,
Wid lashin's o' liqour an' begger-all to do;"
Sez he, "What d'yer say, lad, will ye jump 'er, too?"
Sez I, "Ye ol' bastard, I'm damned if I do."
But de best ov intentions dey niver gits far,
After forty-two days at the door of a bar,
I tossed off me liquor an' what d'yer think?
Why the lousy ol' bastard 'ad drugs in me drink.
Now, the next I remembers I woke in de morn,
On a three-skys'l yarder bound south round Cape Horn;
Wid an' ol' suit of oilskins an' three pairs o' sox,
An' a bloomin' big head an' a dose of the pox.
Now all ye young sailors take a warnin' by me,
Keep a watch on yer drinks when the liquor is free,
An' pay no attintion to runner or whore,
Or yer head'll be thick an' yer fid'll be sore.
abc | midi | pdf
Source: Hugill, Stan, (1969), Shanties and Sailors Songs, London, Herbert Jenkins
Stan Hugill notes say this song probably came into being in the 1840s and that 'An alternative form of the chorus of this song gives "Row, bullies, row!"
Some think that these words suggest that, at some time or other, this shanty may have been a rowing song used aboard whalers, but of this we have no actual proof.'
Roud: 928 (Search Roud index at VWML)